Packaging 101 Blog
Vape: A market destined for mail-order shipping…
When ECigs (electronic cigarettes) and the ‘Vape’ phenomenon (vapour inhalation technology) appeared some years ago, smoking was in a steady decline. The tobacco corporations were suffering, and smoking was becoming a ‘pariah’ activity in most social circles. Ecigs and Vaping changed all of that. With explosive growth to around £6bn globally at the end of 2015, the industry has taken off to the delight of all vendors. The market was quickly adopted by smaller players, competing against the large multi-nationals who were relatively slow to adopt these new products.
With the past three years having been the ‘Golden Age’ of vaping, there are signs of trouble afoot. It appears that the larger multinationals are using their political clout to lobby for regulatory change in their favour according to ECigaretteDirect, with the new “Tobacco Products Directive” coming into play soon. Not only that, the retail model that was adopted early and easily by both small and large vendors is now being heavily competed against through the ‘convenience’ factor provided by subscription-based vape etailers.
The evidence to support or undermine the ‘health-case’ surrounding vaping is hotly contested on all sides – with no clear winner currently. However, that hasn’t stopped vaping and ecig technology from being supported as a smoking quit-aid via the NHS here in the UK, with British American Tobacco’s option the first ‘specified’ solution. The FDA in the United States is / has nearly completed the path to stamping on the vaping market, meaning that in both marketplaces, disruption is imminent.
Finally, and most crucially according to VapeMentors, there is a significant ‘market correction’ coming with significant product and vendor saturation at play. This suggests that competition is going to sky-rocket, with quality products and quality service seperating the winners from the losers. Many of the players in the Vape market are focusing on the quality of their products – however at Lil Packaging, we’re helping some savvy Ecig and Vape vendors to work on their service. As mentioned earlier, subscription-based mail-order operations have much lower overheads than retail operations, and can operate online effectively if they know what they’re doing. This means that they must focus on quality service fulfilment of their orders – ensuring they arrive on time, in full, every time. Then there is also the mailing and packaging costs that they will incur. Given the hugely competitive environment, these are costs that could sink their business.
Our ecig and vape selling customers are now increasingly using our Envelope and Letterbox product ranges to minimise carriage costs. They do this by fitting into lower tariffs such as Royal Mails ‘large letter’ option – as well as ensuring that the products get there safely and securely (using soft-bag mailers is simply poor service.) Our Letterbox range strangely enough is designed to fit through letterboxes, perfect for discrete and successful ecig subscription mailings at home.
With the Royal Mail and other carriers quite happy to have non-flammable vape oils in their network, focusing on a quality service as much as product might just help your business differentiate itself enough to survive the coming storm!